The Cincinnati Bengals announced Saturday they would release defensive lineman Devon Still as the team continued to cut its roster down to the 53-player limit ahead of the 2015 NFL season. Still, who became an international advocate in the fight against cancer after his daughter Leah was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2014, will still have coverage under the NFL’s insurance policy for the next five years, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
Still had been a member of the Bengals’ roster since 2012, when the franchise chose him in the second round of the NFL draft. Cincinnati also cut Still before the start of last season, only to assign him to its practice squad shortly thereafter. Ultimately, the franchise promoted him to its 53-man roster, which made him eligible for a higher salary and insurance coverage from the league.
Still took to social media Saturday to express gratitude to the Bengals for his time with the team. “Have nothing but love for the Bengals organization and the city of Cincinnati. Both helped me through one of the darkest times of my life and I am forever grateful. It's time to move forward and see what's next #IKnowThereIsAPlanForMe,” Still wrote on his Instagram account.
Neuroblastoma is a rare, aggressive type of pediatric cancer that affects about 700 children annually. Treatment for the condition is costly – shortly after Leah’s diagnosis, Still said her medical bills could approach $1 million. But Still’s time on the Bengals’ active roster last season kept him eligible for NFL insurance, which will covered the entirety of her treatment, ESPN reported.
The Bengals also donated more than $1 million to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center last November, through proceeds raised from sales of Still’s jersey. Still had signed a one-year deal with the franchise last March, but contract details were not made available.
Leah Still’s cancer went into remission last March. In June, Still announced that doctors had informed him the cancer had not returned. A month later, Still accepted the Perseverance Award at ESPN’s “ESPY’s” award show and addressed his daughter’s fight in a powerful speech.